What is authentic freedom?
We have an odd notion that freedom is to do whatever we want. No limitations. No constraints. And yet, it is Jesus that promises to set us free. [John 8:31-32] This seems odd to us, since Jesus has teachings that appear to us as limitations.
We can say that we have all sorts of limitations, though. I cannot flap my wings and fly. Surely, it is a limitation, though a natural one at that. And I cannot jump 10 feet high. These seem less like limitations and more like accepting reality, our true being. And so it is with Jesus’ teachings. They tell us the truths that we have as part of our existence. And just like if I would jump from a high place to fly away, not listening to these truths go against my very being and can hurt or kill me.
Freedom is not found in doing whatever you want. Freedom is found in doing what you ought. And that is why Jesus warned us against sin. “[E]veryone who commits sin is a slave of sin.” – [John 8:34] When we go against what we ought to do, we injure ourselves, our inmost being… our soul. And when we do, the injury makes us less capable of doing what we ought. Just like someone with a broken leg.
And yet, we sin. We fail what God wants of us. We fail to do what we ought. Jesus just called us to doing that which we were created to do and to refrain from that which would injure us. Sounds like a loving God. And it does not even begin or stop there, as if there is any beginning or end to God’s love for you.
“A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains. So if a son frees you, then you will truly be free.” – [John 8:35-36] Jesus is the Son that desires to free us from our slavery. Indeed, that is the very purpose for His Death and Glorious Resurrection. He took our sins upon Him and they were nailed to the Cross with Him. But those sins did not rise again when He did. They are dead forever if we have given them to Jesus.
And how do we give our sins to Jesus? Just like He prescribed after His Resurrection. We give them to the priest whom Jesus gave the authority to forgive sins in Confession. “[H]e breathed on them and said to them ‘Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.’” – [John 20:22-23]
You may fail, but you are not the sum of your failures. You are a son or daughter of the ever living God, Who has gone to great lengths to show you His love for you. Will you reject His love or will you reject your sins?
Jesus, thank You for the unfathomable gift of Your love for me. I do not deserve it, yet I glory in it. Help me to accept my freedom in order that I might see Your Infinite Glory in Heaven enjoying Your love for me and expressing my love to You for all of eternity. Amen.